DELPHOS — It is the premier social event of the year in Delphos, and this year’s Canal Days lived up to its billing with crowds filling the city’s downtown.
“We come out every year,” Delphos resident Amy Hoehn said. “It’s something the kids enjoy doing, plus it’s nice to see everybody. I love it when it’s this kind of weather.”
Event chairman Derek Sterling has been very pleased with how smoothly the festivities have gone so far.
“Everything’s been going really well,” he said. “We had a lot of volunteers this year, which always makes it easy.”
The festival started Thursday with a toast to the city.
“We had 543 people up here, which is a record for us,” Sterling said. “We had to add 15 feet of tent to accomodate everyone.”
Canal Days featured a variety of attractions, including carnival rides and games, fair food vendors, a beer tent and plenty of live entertainment.
“We try to come to the beer tents to listen to the bands, we like the kids’ rides and we try to come to the parade,” Hoehn said.
For Sterling, it all comes back to fostering community pride and unity.
“I think it’s a great way to get together with everyone. We have two schools here and sometimes people think there may be a divide here, but it’s not that way. People come here and socialize. You see everyone here working together for one purpose: to raise money that goes back into our community.”
Sterling was also quick to point out that none of this weekend’s festivities would be possible without a strong corps of volunteers.
“We get a lot of the same faces back helping every year along with some new faces wanting to know how it works,” he said. “When you have a good group of people that come together every year, it almost becomes easy with everyone taking their part and doing their thing.”
Canal Days will continue with a full schedule through Sunday.
“Our big thing Saturday is Brother Believe Me, a very popular local band,” Sterling said. “A lot of people are excited to see them. We also have a car show, a cornhole tournament, basket bingo, a 5K and all kinds of other stuff going on.”
Canal Days also serves as a major fundraiser for the city, helping to fund a variety of projects and organizations.
“We find different organizations here that need help or funding, and we put this money right back into Delphos,” Sterling said. “The last two years, our overall amount of money raised has gone up, so that tells me we’ve been getting more people out here.”
Above all else, Canal Days is about one thing.
“If you’re out here, you’re having a good time,” Sterling said.